NAIRTL Grants Initiative - Successful applicants 2008
In March 2008, NAIRTL invited applications for financial support for research activities and projects by members of staff at the NAIRTL partner institutions. It is envisaged that this scheme will be available to all Irish Higher Education Institutes from 2009.
Funding was available at either of two levels:
There was a tremendous response to the call, with more than ninety applications received. A selection committee met in June to assess the applications and unanimously agreed that the following proposals should be funded. Congratulations to all those listed below. NAIRTL looks forward to the commencement of these very worthy projects, the outcomes of which will be widely disseminated.
|Mr Joey Campbell||CIT||Media and Communications||MoTrack: An online eLearning course for students and staff interested in using Motion Tracking for biomedical multimedia teaching and learning activities in CIT.||Motion capture or tracking is the technique of digitally recording physical movements for entertainment, sports, and medical applications. This project would aim to create an online eLearning tool on how to use the Motion Tracking Camera technologies on campus. By creating such a tool it would enable students and staff to teach themselves how to use this technology. It would enable the students to understand and integrate the technology into individual projects or collaborate on projects with students/staff from other departments by drawing on the potential of new technologies for teaching, learning and research.||Small grant|
|Ms Sarah Mulrooney||CIT||Cork Centre for Architectural Education||Studio Learning: Proposal for analysis of environments for studio teaching and learning for design based subjects.||This study proposes to undertake at least six comparative case studies, to examine the variety of spaces that are used for the teaching and learning of design based subjects. The research activity is likely to be extended as a research project to be undertaken by architectural students in their fourth year of study at the Cork Centre of Architectural Education. It will suggest ways in which these findings may be applied to new purpose built studios or to renovation of existing studio spaces. Many educators believe that a convivial studio environment will enhance attendance in the studio and thereby increase the quality and productivity of the students work.||Small grant|
|Mr John P Murphy||CIT||Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering||The contribution of final year research projects in engineering to the integration of research into teaching and learning.||This project is a pilot and scoping study to examine the effectiveness of final year research projects in the development of the research capabilities of engineering students. This project would act as a baseline study on the effectiveness of the final year engineering projects in the key area of integration of research into teaching and learning. It would inform the discussion and development of the research project in the taught Masters programmes in Engineering.||Small grant|
|Mr Tom O'Connor||CIT||Department of Social and General Studies||The Use of Practical Social Care Research to Develop a Holistic Social Care Best Practice Manual||The aim of this research is to produce a multidisciplinary teaching manual for social care educators. This would attempt to reflect a holistic teaching practice arising from proposed research on the needs of a variety of social care clients. These insights would offer fresh educational insights and skills development that could then be transferred to the social care teaching manual.The manual could be a tool used for the co-facilitation of integrated lectures or the design of sample care plans incorporating the different strands of the holistic approach, which could ultimately result in the delivery of interventions having a multidisciplinary focus.||Large grant|
|Mr Don O'Riordan||CIT||Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering||SkillStream. Technologically Enhanced Teaching and Learning. An eTutoring support program for apprentice and technical students.||This project will implement and advance recent improvements in technology/recent research findings from the field of cognitive psychology to build “Learning Objects” which will then be “Streamed” as subject matter videos from a dedicated website to assist students undertaking technical subjects at ITs (Apprentices and Full Time students). The project will allow the creation of tools and strategies to enable teaching staff to use and improve good practice. The project will be disseminated and will allow the sharing of best practice in teaching and learning approaches with colleagues in other institutions.||Small grant|
|Dr Peter Cantillon||NUIG||Department of General Practice||How good teachers are made: an inter-professional critical incident study||This project explores novel approaches to developing teachers and is based on the premise that better and more effective teacher development can only benefit student learning. This project sets out to examine the tacit pedagogical knowledge that influences the development of third level teachers in three different health professions - nursing, speech and language therapy and medicine, using a critical incident approach. The dissemination strategies include a research report for publication via the NAIRTL website. Findings will be used to inform novel work based learning approaches to teacher development.||Small grant|
|Ms Berit Carmesin, Ms Doris Devilly, Ms Michelle Tooher||NUIG||Department of German Department of German Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching||WikiLingua(.ie): research and idea exchange on the use of Web 2.0 in language teaching and learning||This project will support teachers with little or no experience of Web 2.0 and their more experienced colleagues. The project will encourage the use of applications such a blogs for reporting and expression, wikis for project work and discussion boards for constructive discussion in an effort to develop an element of peer review within the classroom. The project aims to build critical review skills in students that are necessary when pursuing research. The project will be aimed towards integration of innovative teaching practice in the disciplines of language and literature and should be easily transferable to teachers of other disciplines.||Small grant|
|Mr Brendan Kennelly, Dr John Considine||NUIG UCC||Head of Department of Economics Department of Economics||On-line auto-graded assignments versus paper assignments: A comparison||The project is concerned with research into teaching, learning and assessment practices. In particular it evaluates the potential of new technologies for teaching and learning in economics. It is a prime example of using teaching and assessment approaches as a valid area for research.||Smaller grant|
|Dr Aisling McCluskey||NUIG||Department of Mathematics||A case for innovation in mathematics education at third-level||This study seeks to implement and evaluate an alternative teaching strategy in the discharge of a core advanced mathematics course Metric Spaces, taught in Semester 1 of each academic year. Such a strategy will be modeled on the concept of enquiry-based learning with a strong emphasis on group work. My contention is that the traditional lecture-driven model with supplemental tutorials and major exam may not necessarily serve today’s student well in terms of a deep learning experience. Such a view is supported in section 4 below. A compounding and alarming factor may indeed be that the concept of deep learning itself has been eroded through teaching practices heavily geared towards examination success. This research initiative seeks to restore balance and to promote learning in the context of a case study.||Smaller grant|
|Ms Margaret McGrath, Ms Ruth McMenamin||NUIG NUIG||Department of Occupational Therapy Department of Speech and Language Therapy||An investigation of the impact of Service Learning on Students, Community Partners and Academic Staff in Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy at the National University of Ireland, Galway||In 2001 NUI Galway launched the Community Knowledge Initiative. This project planned to promote civic engagement across the institution and to strengthen links with local, national and international communities. Annually up to 60 students, in Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy, enhance their academic learning though community engagement. The aim of this project is to develop an appropriate tool(s) to measure the impact of Service Learning in an Irish context, using mixed method across two phases.||Large grant|
|Dr Anne O'Connor||NUIG||Department of Italian||Games and Grammar: Language learning methodologies in college and community||This project seeks to research the effectiveness of games in language learning both at primary and university level. It will do so in the context of the course ‘Service Learning in Italian’, a module which teaches undergraduate students the fundamentals of language learning and language teaching and then allows them put this learning into practice by arranging for students to teach Italian in local primary schools in Galway city and county. The project aims to place the tools at students disposal to enable them engage in a reflective approach to learning.||Small grant|
|Professor David Berman||TCD||Department of Philosophy||Teaching and Research in Experimental Philosophy||This proposal involves the creation of a small community of students, academics and ex-students to test some philosophical questions and to consider these by means of well-designed experiments. It involves more than fifteen participants and includes inter-institutional collaboration. The results of these experiments will be presented at a number of seminars in which participants would come together to examine and discuss their experimental work. A volume of essays will be compiled setting out some of the key results and also the method used to obtain them.||Small grant|
|Ms Amy Murray||TCD||Centre for Academic Practice and Student Learning||Developing a best practice approach for ‘closing the feedback loop’ in Higher Education Institutions – turning feedback into action!||This collaborative project will address questions like - How do HEIs collect feedback from their students on the students’ research, teaching and learning experiences? What are the challenges and gaps institutionally and/or sectorally within HEIs? Among the objectives for this project is the identification of mechanisms of measuring the quality of research, teaching and learning. Drawing from the collaborative experience, best practices within HEIs may be revised to facilitate improvement of research, learning and teaching and to include students in the overall process of closure of issues identified through the collection of student feedback||Large grant|
|Dr Clodagh Harris, Ms Fiona Buckley, Ms. Monica O’Mullane, Dr. Theresa Reidy||UCC||Government||Integrating Research, Teaching and Learning in a Multicultural Setting: Developing a FETAC level 6 Certificate in political issues and community action for the immigrant community||This initiative is a research led approach which builds students research, communication and writing skills. Within the Certificate, enquiry based learning will drive a research led curriculum which will develop the research skills of the students. The Certificate students will engage in a curriculum that emphasises research methodology and political education at its core. The project outcomes will include Research papers disseminating the findings of this project and its impact on integration of research into teaching and learning.||Small grant|
|Ms Margaret Healy, Ms Maeve McCutcheon, Ms Michelle Carr||UCC||Accounting, Finance and Information Systems||Developing an Accounting & Finance Support Centre: Establishing and Disseminating Best Practice||In November 2007, an Accounting and Finance Support Centre was established at UCC, as an educational resource for students experiencing difficulties with modules in Accounting and Finance. A review of the centre has prompted the need for research-informed reflection on its role and purpose. A series of collaborative, interstitutional workshops will be held together with more in-depth research regarding the student experience with the centre to date. The dissemination of the findings of this project will be useful for any departments wishing to establish similar student support centres.||Small grant|
|Dr Bettie Higgs, Professor C. Anthony Ryan, Dr Shane Kilcommins||UCC||Ionad Bairre Department of Paediatrics & Child Health Department of Law||Making Connections: Strengthening and Documenting Intentional Teaching for Integrative Learning||The overall aim of the project is to research and document examples of integrative learning in Higher Education in Ireland, and produce a clear and practical resource for all teachers. Under this umbrella the project will include staff development in curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment as vehicles to promote students’ integrative learning. The project will help students to make connections within and between the disciplines they study and to develop capacities to integrate their learning in a variety of situations. Strategies and assessment tools to enable and strengthen good practice will be created.||Large grant|
|Professor Kevin McCartney, Ms. Sarah Mulrooney||UCC CIT||Cork Centre for Architectural Education||Literature Review and Development of Learning Workshop Exercises for Students Starting Research by Design.||This project will generate a series of workshop exercises to support design students in their engagement with the third form of design-related research. There is now a significant body of recent literature in the field and it is proposed to undertake a review of this literature. The learning exercises produced following the literature study will be of value to all students following a studio-based model of learning. Learning communities will be created that promote, support and sustain the integration of research, teaching and learning. The findings of this work will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed international conference.||Small grant|
|Dr Jacqui O'Riordan||UCC||Department of Applied Social Studies||Children and Global Diversity: Collaborative Development of Learning Materials: UCC and Hope Foundation||This project aims to increase awareness and understanding among students in the BA (Early Childhood Studies) of global issues affecting children. Learning materials will be developed through a collaborative research process involving case studies, focused discussion and seminars with HOPE Foundation, Kalkuta, UCC staff and students. Teaching and learning materials will be developed in the form of issue-based case studies in the areas of child abuse, child trafficking and child labour that will then be developed with students in the BAECS.The aim is that this will lead to a process whereby students deepen their understandings of how learning materials can be developed and of cultural and social diversity.||Small grant|
|Dr David Ryan||UCC||Department of History||Multiple Forum Education and Research: Enhancing Learning through Complimentary Temporal Environments, Research-Led Teaching, and Student-Based Enquiry||This project aims to develop and implement an advanced Third Year undergraduate seminar that integrates research-led teaching, student enquiry-based research, and a virtual learning community environment. It will create a dynamic undergraduate learning experience and a valuable teaching experience for doctoral candidates and academic staff. Among the proposed outcomes will be the establishment of an advanced form of Research Led Teaching (RLT) capable of integrating staff expertise and post-graduate expertise with undergraduate learning and research and also the construction of an integrated web-based learning facility with communications and researching capacities.||Small grant|
|Mr Eoin Gill, Dr Sheila Donegan, Dr Padraig Kirwan||WIT||CALMAST||SISTEM – Stimulating Interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths||CALMAST supports, promotes and researches best practice in the learning of maths, science and technology. By developing a range of practical demonstrations for the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths applicable to first year students, this project will advance effective teaching and learning practices for a range of audiences. The influence of these learning tools will be examined via focus groups and impact studies, which will serve to advance and integrate research into undergraduate teaching, learning and assessment practices.||Large grant|
Awards for submissions to the NAIRTL 2007 annual report
Grants of €1000 euros were awarded to a number of applicants for descriptions of examples of good practice in integrating research and teaching and learning in the NAIRTL collaborating institutes. These examples were included in the NAIRTL annual report 2007.
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